The expectancy theory of motivation

Last Updated: 08 May 2020
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The expectancy theory of motivation states the relation between employee motivations and how satisfactory a reward is, the expectancy of achieving the target and the probability that a satisfactory performance would lead to positive results. The three elements mentioned in the theory are: Expectancy: it is the conviction a person hold about being able to achieve the goal. The confidence may come from knowledge, skills, personality etc. an employee confident of achieving the goal, will be more motivated to work towards it.

Instrumentality: when an employee feels that increase in performance would result in desirable rewards then it is called instrumentality. Faith in senior management and including the employees in decision making will help build the factor. Valence: it is the expected satisfaction an employee wants after accomplishing a task. Every individual has different needs and wants so the rewards required also differ. Some may prefer monetary rewards while the other may opt for recognition. So the more appropriate a reward is the more desirable it is to the employee, and consequently he would work harder to achieve it.

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The theory states that if these three factors are provided together to an employee then he will be motivated to work productively. However if any of the factors are missing then an employee would not be able to give his best towards achieving the goal. So Vroom’s expectancy theory of motivation states that motivation is the product of valence, instrumentality and expectancy. 2. The problem of insufficient efforts from employees under supervisor A could be handled with the help of the expectancy theory of motivation. The theory can help motivate the employees to perform more efficiently.

If we deal with the problems according to the three factors mentioned by Vroom, the probable solution can be as following. Expectancy: the hand dexterity involved in the job makes the employee believe that the work is complex. So the employees do not want to take extra initiative to achieve the goals, as they feel they may not be successful in achieving it. The superiors can have a friendly discussion with the employees and explain that the job involved is aligned to their capabilities and skills. Training and development programs can be conducted to boost the employee confidence.

The management should provide the employees with the right resources such as raw material, time etc while the supervisors should support and motivate the sub ordinates throughout the process. Instrumentality: The employees under supervisor A feel that the increments in salary are not any different for non achievers; so extra effort is not appreciated. The performance appraisal should be fair and employees should be given clear guidelines about organizational rewards. The employees should feel confident about the receiving rewards that are instrumental to their growth.

Valence: another complain is that the money given for the overtime is offset by the value added from the bonus. The increase in the amount of the paycheck is also minimal. If a hike in salary is not possible then non monetary rewards such as recognition/ rise in ranks should be given instead. Supervisor A should praise employees making extra effort. If the employees feel that the management is fair and just and that every initiative would lead to some form of benefit then the employees would be motivated to work harder.

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The expectancy theory of motivation. (2018, Sep 05). Retrieved from

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